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Butter tree

Tylecodon paniculatus

This striking feature plant with its chubby stem, has yellow-green paper-like bark, and in winter months is covered in long paddle-shaped succulent leaves which are clustered around the growing tip. Just as the leaves are falling off at the beginning of summer, long reddish-orange flowers appear and attract nectar-loving birds and insects. It loses its leaves in summer in order to conserve energy and photosynthesize.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Collect the seed capsules in autumn and allow to open in a paper bag to avoid loss.

Propagation

Seed
Sow the seed into seed trays with coarse sand topping. Do not cover. Water once a week in winter and once a month in summer. After two years the plants will be about 3cm and can be planted in pots.
Cuttings
Take cuttings which are about 3cm in diameter. Place them in a sharp quartzite substrate in a warm place. They will normally take about a year to produce a strong root system.

Special features

Attracts birds
Lesser double-collared sunbirds have been seen visiting the Butter tree.
Attracts useful insects
Attracts nectar-loving insects
Drought resistant
This plant is well suited to a water-wise garden.
Pot plant
Makes a striking pot plant for water-wise gardens

Geography

Origin
Africa, Southern Africa
Natural climate
Dry Interior

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Personality

Family
Crassulaceae
Flower colour
Reddish-orange
Scent
None

Problems

None known

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